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Yes, I was the one who begged Jon to build the A5s. I feel very validated that Sonnie, Wayne, Leonard, and Quentin all had very similar experiences to what Jon and I wanted to craft as the signature sonic character of the A5s. Detail without harshness. Delicacy with plenty of output. A large soundstage with excellent imaging...and well-damped, accurate bass. Speakers that disappeared into the room, behind a wall of sound.

-Collin
I think it is fair to say that you accomplished what you were after, Collin. I have no doubt that the speakers will perform superbly in a home theater application as well. Trust me, there were no softballs thrown here. We put these speakers to the test and made them have to perform, which they did quite nicely. I hope that you have some design principles that correlate with these outcomes and that this was not just a fortuitous outcome. If so, you are sure to come up with some interesting products in the future.

Well done.
 

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I can't say too much about the line arrays....but numbers are being crunched....pictures drawn on napkins....and plenty of chalk on the chalkboard for a line array. :D

Yes, I was the one who begged Jon to build the A5s. I feel very validated that Sonnie, Wayne, Leonard, and Quentin all had very similar experiences to what Jon and I wanted to craft as the signature sonic character of the A5s. Detail without harshness. Delicacy with plenty of output. A large soundstage with excellent imaging...and well-damped, accurate bass. Speakers that disappeared into the room, behind a wall of sound.

Those are all phrases and adjectives that I used to describe both what I wanted in emails and phone calls with Jon and also in public posts on multiple forums of what I heard after I got the prototypes into my listening space. I am glad that those design goals have been met. They were conceived as being part of the Arx lineup from the beginning, but our intent was to craft a pair of two-channel focused loudspeakers that could easily be used as a HT solution as well. We have been unashamed that our aim and goal was two channel excellence, so I'm very happy to see that they performed well for everybody who heard them...especially in the face of some VERY stiff and respectable competition. I'm sure Jon feels the same.

Wait until you hear them with 25 hours on them or more. Trust me on that. ;)

Thanks to Chad and the rest who voted for them in the poll. I stayed-out because, frankly, I think I'm a little too biased and too close to the "A5 project" to participate in that poll. Also congrats to gorb on your win of the cash prize!

-Collin
You guys did an awesome job ... at an unheard of price point too.

We had over 50 hours on them at the evaluation... and now they have about 150 hours on them. I have been doing a LOT of listening.


Thanks! I bought an engagement ring recently, so it'll be a credit card payment.

And thanks to HTS of course for holding the contest and offering the prize in the first place :D
Congratulations!


The 3rd gen tweeter appears in the upcoming A2rx-c and A3rx-c, arriving October after way too many month's delay in incorporating their upgrades. (Sonically I happen to find these two models quite interesting.)

Nobody hold me to this as a committed product, but I can say that an A7 is on my desk right now, as is the LCR/MTM A6 mentioned in our forum. Naturally we'll announce these models as soon as we feel comfortable doing so.

The line array product is also proceeding, as far as I can tell. It's in prototyping and barring it not being feasible in some way in its current trim, we'd love to leak the specs and drop a few early production pairs out here and there yet this Fall.
Looking forward to perhaps being a guinea pig on those 7's. :bigsmile:
 

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I think they would be fine in a smaller HT. I am not sure about the other speakers (mainly the center) in a larger room like mine, but they all might be just fine crossed over at 80Hz anyway.
Of course, considering your HT system:hsd:, the bar is pretty high. I think most of us could easily live with them in that sized room with a sub or two.:yes:

In fact, I would actually love to hear a full Arx HT setup in that room with your existing subs.
 

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Based on the frequency response, it seems a little odd that the Lores would be bright or harsh.

What I noticed on my own lores was that that the "just out of the boxes to 50 hour sound" had a little more high end emphasis...but not bright or harsh...then as the 10" eminence drivers broke in....around 100-150 hours, the mid range filled out, the tonal balance was better, the bass went deeper and the soundstage became even bigger. But never was the music bright or harsh, no matter how loud the volume was turned up.

From a reference standpoint, I'm using an Oppo 103 into a Parasound 2100 into a Crown Drivecore 2000.
As much as an objectivist as I tend to be, with speakers, there is certainly more to the sound than frequency response alone reveals. Different drivers with the same frequency response can have quite different character, just like two musical instruments can produce the same notes but sound very different. There are differences in the amount and type of distortion, harmonic behavior, as well as the interaction between drivers and crossover behavior.

Also, keep in mind that the differences that we reported were relatively small and that the Lore was very much appreciated by all of us. There is a lot to like about them. I tend to feel that the tweeter type has much to do with why we favored the Arx, however.
 

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I hope that you have some design principles that correlate with these outcomes and that this was not just a fortuitous outcome. If so, you are sure to come up with some interesting products in the future.
As much as an objectivist as I tend to be, with speakers, there is certainly more to the sound than frequency response alone reveals. Different drivers with the same frequency response can have quite different character [...] There are differences in the amount and type of distortion, harmonic behavior, as well as the interaction between drivers and crossover behavior. [...] I tend to feel that the tweeter type has much to do with why we favored the Arx, however.
That's astute, Icaillo. I can answer that the A5 is the product of a purposeful philosophy in which driver combinations and their transfer functions are most important. Types are too but they must be woven together well.

Systems sound different for important reasons that just don't show up in the theory, the specs, or the measurements. I happen to believe that the advent of more formulaic, even corporatized design and product engineering has not well served the user. In fact friends and I tend to feel that in places it's has given us an audio dark ages at the same time as knowledge about the field has expanded.

This should not be so.

The trick to good sound is summed up in the combination of low distortion and fine attention to design - meaning, not necessarily in abstract, theoretical engineering. Those two ideals are intangibles yet they inform the basis of better sounding systems across audio. I think we're hearing them in our preferred speaker systems while not always finding theoretically better components adhering to narrow "rules" inherently musical.

There is no reliable, hierarchal, and universally accessible list of does and don'ts that defines good sound. Good sound is an art that employs the sciences and is not bound to respond to what's commonly said to work.
 

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Looking forward to perhaps being a guinea pig on those 7's. :bigsmile:
I call dibs! :heehee:

Seriously though, I commend each of you guys for the amount of work you put into this evaluation, and each and every one of us appreciates it. I hope to be part of the next one!

I saw Sonnie mention it earlier, and I wanted to reiterate - most of the time, we do come out of a room at a show with similar thoughts on the setup, but there have been a few that we hear differently.
 

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John Lane wrote:

Nobody hold me to this as a committed product, but I can say that an A7 is on my desk right now, as is the LCR/MTM A6 mentioned in our forum. Naturally we'll announce these models as soon as we feel comfortable doing so.
I remember way back when this shootout first started & Sonnie making the comment that the A5's might not make it in. I encouraged him to call John in hopes of working it out. I absolutley love these tweeters & wanted to hear them in particular...truely impressive speakers.

Now I'm encouraging getting a set for the next shootout. If you stay true to form, these just may be my next speakers. I'm in the market for a 7.0 set soon.

Consider them called out :waiting:!
 

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As much as an objectivist as I tend to be, with speakers, there is certainly more to the sound than frequency response alone reveals. Different drivers with the same frequency response can have quite different character, just like two musical instruments can produce the same notes but sound very different. There are differences in the amount and type of distortion, harmonic behavior, as well as the interaction between drivers and crossover behavior.

Also, keep in mind that the differences that we reported were relatively small and that the Lore was very much appreciated by all of us. There is a lot to like about them. I tend to feel that the tweeter type has much to do with why we favored the Arx, however.
I can tell you that, after modeling and design, all of the final fine-tuning was done by ear. Jon was switching out crossover components with identical electrical values, but that just DIDN'T sound that same. Rather than just being happy that something measured well, every variant was actually listened-to with real music.

It took quite a long time to develop because if it wasn't "right" it wasn't going to make it out the door. Jon and I discuss an "x-factor" like you mention. Having an extensive background in live pro audio (10 years), there are still things we can hear but are unable to quantify in a way that we can relate to the design process with regard to loudspeakers.

I have long said, beware of the speaker designer who says they can measure "everything".

Anybody can get a loudspeaker design 90% of the way there....look at how popular parts express is! But to get it that last 10%...to bring it home.....tuning by ear has to be done.

Having mixed every type of musical group and nearly every musical style (aside from some regional folk music styles), one needs to have an ear for how human voices and musical instruments really sound in real spaces and at real volumes. Jon involved me in the gestation process of the A5 because I have a background in live audio and we share philosophies in loudspeaker design (both theory and execution).

If the line array pans-out it will have far lower distortion than even the A5...and obviously greater output limits. It should image like crazy with effortless dynamics. But, as with the A5, it won't make it out the door until it's "right". More to come.

I should reiterate that this field of competitors was formidable and that one could hardly make a poor choice by selecting any of them. I've always said that the final decision for what speaker a listener prefers is a personal choice and will be different for different folks. There is just no replacement for actually listening to a loudspeaker in one's own space and connected to their equipment.

I have a buddy who is an accomplished musician, recording engineer, sound editor, and live sound engineer...but he buys B*SE products. He's one of the smartest guys I know and is excellent at what he does......but he just loves B*SE and prefers the B*SE 301 "sound". :dontknow:
 

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I just wanted to add my thanks for those who were involved with the review and write-up process for this event. I thought everything was brilliantly done and very helpful and informative. And now I'm turned on to a couple of brands that I had not previously considered, but now certainly will.

Looking forward to the $2500 event even more now, because I know I'll get some great exposure and insight that I haven't had before.
 

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That's astute, Icaillo. I can answer that the A5 is the product of a purposeful philosophy in which driver combinations and their transfer functions are most important. Types are too but they must be woven together well.

Systems sound different for important reasons that just don't show up in the theory, the specs, or the measurements. I happen to believe that the advent of more formulaic, even corporatized design and product engineering has not well served the user. In fact friends and I tend to feel that in places it's has given us an audio dark ages at the same time as knowledge about the field has expanded.

This should not be so.

The trick to good sound is summed up in the combination of low distortion and fine attention to design - meaning, not necessarily in abstract, theoretical engineering. Those two ideals are intangibles yet they inform the basis of better sounding systems across audio. I think we're hearing them in our preferred speaker systems while not always finding theoretically better components adhering to narrow "rules" inherently musical.

There is no reliable, hierarchal, and universally accessible list of does and don'ts that defines good sound. Good sound is an art that employs the sciences and is not bound to respond to what's commonly said to work.
Jon, I understand your perspective perfectly, having been in the industry for many years and seen the "corporatized design and product engineering" up close. I also believe that there is much that we do not understand in trying to account for why things sound the way they do. I attribute that to too many variables and an industry that has a vested interest in not perfecting the science, engineers on the periphery of the industry that oversimplify and make self limiting assumptions, and many who are happy to pursue ikons or argue a point rather than understand. My icons in the industry have been the experimenters who push the limits. Recall how the industry started. Guys like Henry Kloss in a workshop who have a great idea until they get caught up in their own image and businesses that steer instead of innovation.

There is much to be learned about this technology. I applaud your innovation in how to use it. I hope that what you are doing, and the purposeful philosophy, combined with empirical knowledge and experience, lead to some better theoretical framework. To say we don't have the theoretical framework to work from to approach design speaks volumes about how little we really know. I am a scientist at heart and believe that we can develop such a framework, but we need to stop making assumptions and delve more deeply into measuring reproduced sound and understanding perception.
 

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I have long said, beware of the speaker designer who says they can measure "everything".
And you would be right, but I would argue that we should be able to measure much more than we do. We have not really looked. With the resolution with which we could be making measurements, the analytical tools that we have that were barely developed 20 years ago, and the computing power to model just about anything cost effectively, we could get much closer to measuring everything. The scale and parameters that we have used in measurement are quite dated and primitive.
 

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I should reiterate that this field of competitors was formidable and that one could hardly make a poor choice by selecting any of them. I've always said that the final decision for what speaker a listener prefers is a personal choice and will be different for different folks. There is just no replacement for actually listening to a loudspeaker in one's own space and connected to their equipment.
So true, and exactly what we experienced. That is a point that we tried very hard to make, not out of an attempt to be polite and not offend, but because that is what we really did experience. We had one set of variables in terms of room design and placement, and we tried to provide as independent an assessment as each of us could. Others will have very different settings, and different priorities. My guess, however, is that many would come to the same conclusions that we did, but also that most people could be perfectly happy with at least half of the speakers we tested.

There was just this little extra something in the A5s and MLs, and the A5 had a bit more of it. :scratch: Boy that is hard for a measurement and signal processing geek like me to admit.:coocoo:
 

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And you would be right, but I would argue that we should be able to measure much more than we do. We have not really looked. With the resolution with which we could be making measurements, the analytical tools that we have that were barely developed 20 years ago, and the computing power to model just about anything cost effectively, we could get much closer to measuring everything. The scale and parameters that we have used in measurement are quite dated and primitive.
Lots of wisdom in this statement. :)
 

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So true, and exactly what we experienced. That is a point that we tried very hard to make, not out of an attempt to be polite and not offend, but because that is what we really did experience. We had one set of variables in terms of room design and placement, and we tried to provide as independent an assessment as each of us could. Others will have very different settings, and different priorities. My guess, however, is that many would come to the same conclusions that we did, but also that most people could be perfectly happy with at least half of the speakers we tested.

There was just this little extra something in the A5s and MLs, and the A5 had a bit more of it. :scratch: Boy that is hard for a measurement and signal processing geek like me to admit.:coocoo:
The geek in me wants to think that it's all the little technical things that made the difference here (lower distortion in the lower-treble/1k-2k range, low distortion drivers, drivers that play well with eachother with their naked responses, in-phase crossovers between drivers, quality crossover components, etc.), but there is also some laborious guess-and-check swapping of quality crossover components looking for the dimensionality (how do we measure that in a model right now?), imaging (how do we measure that in a model right now?), texture/smoothness between components that have the same values (and that even measure the same)....but they don't sound the same. Jon is an audio MADMAN when it comes to this stuff. He loses sleep about it. :ponder:

Until science catches up with art (and it will), we're kinda left with this educated guess-and-check process to really get a design that creates that suspension of disbelief, which is the entire point of audio...to make you think that you're THERE. Either in-studio or in-venue.

EDIT: I'll add that I think that the advancements in measurements will come in measuring things like transient performance on actual musical material of a loudspeaker and comparing that in real-time the original waveform of the source signal, measuring IM in a musical signal in real time and comparing it to the source signal, and taking measurement samples of tones and musical notes at vastly different volume levels. I think that some of these measurements will reveal more interplay between loudspeaker and amp than a lot of solid-state guys currently subscribe to....but that's just a hunch. I could be wrong.
 

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I have one question and it may have been addressed in the thread. Some of the speakers in the shootout sell direct and that means their price is street price. Many of the other speakers are sold through dealers and have a MSRP that is much higher than street price. For example, Klipsch RF-82 II's can easily be found for less than 1K. Makes me wonder how the RF-82's would have compared to the direct selling speakers.
 

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Jon, I understand your perspective perfectly, having been in the industry for many years and seen the "corporatized design and product engineering" up close. I also believe that there is much that we do not understand in trying to account for why things sound the way they do. I attribute that to too many variables and an industry that has a vested interest in not perfecting the science, engineers on the periphery of the industry that oversimplify and make self limiting assumptions, and many who are happy to pursue ikons or argue a point rather than understand. My icons in the industry have been the experimenters who push the limits. Recall how the industry started. Guys like Henry Kloss in a workshop who have a great idea until they get caught up in their own image and businesses that steer instead of innovation.

There is much to be learned about this technology. I applaud your innovation in how to use it. I hope that what you are doing, and the purposeful philosophy, combined with empirical knowledge and experience, lead to some better theoretical framework. To say we don't have the theoretical framework to work from to approach design speaks volumes about how little we really know. I am a scientist at heart and believe that we can develop such a framework, but we need to stop making assumptions and delve more deeply into measuring reproduced sound and understanding perception.
I think this is the heart of it, lcaillo. Speaking collectively, we tend to establish assumptions by way of recent conventions, not all of which are well-founded, eventually forgetting that any one of them can divert progress. There are cases where a new tenet relies on flawed reasoning and not a reference to natural music and some degree of the suspension of disbelief. When this new convention then becomes a cornerstone of marketing is when we should propose questioning it.

I also mentioned that there can be no universal hierarchy of importance - to your point, the field is simply too vast and the subjective decisions, which are the art, are innumerable.
 

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I have one question and it may have been addressed in the thread. Some of the speakers in the shootout sell direct and that means their price is street price. Many of the other speakers are sold through dealers and have a MSRP that is much higher than street price. For example, Klipsch RF-82 II's can easily be found for less than 1K. Makes me wonder how the RF-82's would have compared to the direct selling speakers.
Because it just depends on the dealer whether or not you can get significant discounts to lower the price. Example is I tried and tried to get some Paradigm Monitor Titans from a dealer but he would not come down in price at all.

Prices just vary too much from dealer to dealer so I think MSRP is a fair way to do it. You really need to form a relationship with a dealer before getting any kind of discount under MSRP.

Other than the bass extension and output I don't the the 82s would be much better than the 62s.
 
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